How to keep summer (camp) affordable
Bridging a two-month holiday is a challenge for every family. Summer camp might seem like an ideal solution, but the costs can quickly mount up. Especially with several children in the family. So, how can you keep summer (camp) affordable? Our tips.
1. Organise your own ‘camp’
Coordinate with the parents of your child’s friends and organise a one- or two-week camp, with each family assuming responsibility for one day of camp. By ‘camp’ we effectively mean ‘childcare’, but camp sounds cooler. Organising lots of entertaining activities is fun, but isn’t necessary for a thoroughly enjoyable day. Your children will simply appreciate spending time with their friends. What’s more: it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Win-win! Tip: make firm agreements pertaining to the number of childcare hours and limit the size of the group. Round off each day with an opportunity to socialise for young and old alike. For a more recent update on summer camps concerning corona matters, please consult www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/faq/.
2. Playgrounds and out-of-school childcare
Extremely affordable, close to home and fun to boot: playgrounds and out-of-school childcare facilities offer numerous advantages for parents and children, and are ideal for bridging one or two days of childcare. Tip: coordinate with the parents of your child’s friends, to ensure they feel instantly at home in the group. That way you’ll avoid any unnecessary distress, particularly in the case of younger children.
3. Youth movement summer camps
If your child is a member of a youth movement, then they’ll also be entitled to attend summer camp. These fun-packed, multi-day events are invaluable for your child’s development. So, all those dirty socks and smelly clothes are definitely worth it! Summer camp is an additional cost (on top of your membership fee). Your health insurance fund and/or municipality will, however, reimburse a portion of these costs.
4. Sports and other camps: register on time
There are countless summer camps with a variety of themes. Indeed, there’s truly something for everyone. Tip: popular and affordable summer camps fill up extremely quickly, so make sure you book on time. You can usually peruse what’s on offer and commence registration as early as January. Don’t forget to check what (partners of) your city or municipality are organising. Or Kazou, the CM’s youth organisation and a KidsLife partner. The Kazou youth camp provision is extremely diverse, so there’s something suitable for every child. You’ll also enjoy a discount as a CM member.
Tip: paying your summer camp registration in instalments will prevent a sudden large hit to the family budget.
5. Consider choosing a language camp
Language camps enable you to kill two birds with one stone: your child gets to enjoy a fun-packed holiday - usually abroad - and simultaneously learns a new language (or at the very least consolidates what they learned during the school year).
Most language camps operate abroad or entail overnight stays. Whilst that makes them more expensive, fun and affordable language camps do exist.
How can you recover a portion of the costs?
- You can receive a small refund for sports camps, outdoor classrooms, summer camps (including those run by the youth movement) and playground activities from health insurance funds such as CM/Symbio. Check the conditions on the CM website.
- Keep an eye out for family discounts! Some organisations give an extra discount if several children from the same family attend a camp from the same organisation.
- Many camps and out-of-school childcare facilities will furnish you with a tax certificate. Keep this certificate safe, as you’ll require it when completing your tax return.
- Sodexo and Edenred also offer sports and culture vouchers that provide financial assistance. These vouchers are typically distributed via your employer.
- Be sure to check your municipality’s website! Some municipalities provide discount coupons for various camps, such as Youth AXI vouchers in Bruges
- Check whether you’re entitled to a discount on registration fees via the UITPAS (Flanders) / Paspartoe (Brussels) savings and benefits card. You might be entitled to an UITPAS discount card: this card automatically gives you an 80% discount on activities via the UITPAS.